Only a few empty trailers were parked at the parking lot at the Wrightsville Beach Wildlife ramp last March.
The trailers created a question was the early run of bonito Capt. Matt Wirt (Reel Adventure Charters, 910-540-0570, www.reel-adventure.com) had found a few days earlier a freak occurrence or had the fish arrived and word hadnt spread?
A fine line exists between finding early-season bass once in a while at Kerr Lake and consistently landing quality limits.
It happens every spring as anglers hit Kerr Lake (aka Buggs Island) during early March. They may swing aggressive largemouth after largemouth into their boats and think theyve solved the lakes puzzles. However, the next weekend may be a complete water haul with a weigh-in bag that resembles a fat goose egg.
During the late 1980s, Jordan Lake, an impoundment divided by U.S. 64 east of Pittsboro, was the hottest largemouth reservoir in North Carolina.
Anglers regularly caught 50 to 100 largemouth bass a day, the majority 2- and 3-pound football-shaped lunkers with 8- and 10-pounders common. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers closed the dam in 1984, so Jordan had only recently been flooded, and largemouths flourished.
On the calendar, March occupies 31 days like a lot of the other months.
But for bass fisherman, March covers an awful lot of ground. Conditions can and will change at the drop of a cold front, and over the course of a little better than four weeks, bass fishing can go from dead to dynamite, from winter to wonderful.
Even though winter never really gets a good grip on the Lowcountry, the lengthening days of March have a feel to them like none other on the calendar.
The air smells clean, and the warmth of the sun on your skin is as comforting as a blanket to a 4-year-old. While the woods and swamps seem stark and lifeless, pockets of color from yellow Jessamine are a visual reminder that spring is coming.
Years ago, crappie fishing was a pretty laid-back, contemplative fishing experience.
Using three or four land markers a large tree, a dock, a point you located a position where you had caught crappie before and anchored there. Then, you set out cane poles baited with minnows, sat back and contemplated world affairs while waiting on the fish to bite.
It was a typical day for a usually tepid fishing month not the dead of winter but not quite spring, as a northeast wind bore down on the North Carolina coast.
The thermometer reading was in the low 50s, but the wind-chill factor made it feel much colder to tiny patches of exposed anglers noses, cheeks and hands. Rainwear with sweatshirts worn underneath was the uniform of the day.
He wasnt looking forward to a six-hour drive through the mountains on slippery, snow-covered roads, but Bryan Shilbett is a dedicated trout fisherman who never fails to show up for opening day of Cherokees pay-to-fish trout season.
Spreading across more than 32,000 surface acres, Lake Norman is a pretty big place. But striper anglers trying to figure out where to find fish can eliminate a lot of water just by knowing the habits of their favorite quarry.